Singing is good for you! - Caroline Franks
Caroline has sung with the RCS sopranos since 1987 and, importantly, she ensures the choir’s finances are kept in good order. We asked her about her love of singing; this is what she told us.
I was recently asked to write a bit about numbers and singing, and I can see why; they say that the same sort of brain is good at maths and music. But I’m the exception to that rule! My degree is in maths and I’ve spent my working life as an accountant, but a musician I am not. I was hopeless at recorder and my parents couldn’t afford instrumental lessons when I was small. I did take up piano when my children were learning, and made some modest progress under the patient tutelage of our own Richard Prince (former RCS Musical Director), but too often I resorted to singing at the piano, in the vain hope that it would take the hint and the correct keys would sound, wherever my incompetent fingers landed.
I can’t, though, imagine my life without singing. I’ve sung since I can remember. Singing Together, with the big Rediffusion wireless in the school hall (those of you of a Certain Age will know exactly what I mean!); school choirs and productions; church choir as soon as mum would let me stay up late enough to attend practices. My secondary school was all girls, so we sang in four parts, female voices. Wanting to sing something other than the tune all the time, I chose second soprano, and that’s where I have stayed. We did joint concerts with the boys’ school across the road, and it was in rehearsal for Faure’s Requiem at Christmas 1971 that I met my husband. Everywhere we’ve lived, we’ve found a choir, not necessarily together (he sang with the Halle in Manchester; considerably out of my league!)
Singing is my therapy. I know if I’ve worked at a rehearsal. If I’ve been breathing properly, sitting properly, singing properly, it makes a difference. I can tell that my cardio-vascular system has had a work-out. I can feel the endorphins doing their thing round my body. I know my stress levels have dropped. The music is important, of course, but the physical action of singing is equally so. When I’m upset, I sing. When I’m stressed, I sing. When I’m sad, I sing. And, of course, when I’m happy, I sing!
And, I guess, numbers have gone with singing, if not musical talent with the ability to work with numbers. I’ve ended up as treasurer of many of the choirs with which I’ve sung over the years, not least RCS! And that’s fine, though, as I say every year at the AGM, if there’s someone who would like to take that on, I’m not clinging to the role!
One day, my voice will go, but for as long as I can, I shall continue to sing.